Organic meat production is governed by USDA’s national organic standards implemented in 2002. These standards state that animals must be raised using organic management practices and that organically-raised livestock must be separated from their conventional counterparts. The use of growth-enhancing hormones and sub-therapeutic antibiotics is prohibited. Cattle can receive preventive medical care (e.g., vaccines) and dietary vitamin and mineral supplements. Cattle can only be fed 100% organically-produced feed that is free of animal by-products. Furthermore, cattle must have access to the outdoors, shade, exercise areas, fresh air, and direct sunlight. Organically-raised cows must have access to pasture.
In 2008, there were 2 million acres of organic certified rangeland and 63,680 organically-certified beef cows. The price of natural/organic beef averaged $5.48 in the first quarter of 2011 which represented a premium of $1.70 per pound. Such premiums are the result of consumer demand as well as the additional costs of producing organic beef. April 2012 ... Organic Beef
- 2008 Organic Production Survey, National Ag Statistics Service (NASS), USDA, 2010.
- Alternative Beef Production Systems: Issues and Implications, ERS, USDA, April 2013 - U.S. beef markets
are undergoing rapid change as alternative production systems, including organic beef and grass-fed beef,
evolve in response to consumer demands and compete with conventional grain-fed beef production. According
to the report, beef produced through distinguishable systems has different marketable attributes that
may attract price premiums.
- Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, USDA - Identifies resources about sustainable food systems and practices, including current updates on regulatory and marketing issues.
- Attracting Consumers with Locally Grown Products, Food Processing Center, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2001 - This research study summarizes results of a survey of 500 households in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin. The primary grocery shopper of each household was surveyed for attitudes and opinions on locally grown and produced food, including organic and all-natural food and meat purchasing behaviors.
- Biofuels send organic meat prices soaring, Natural Foods Merchandiser, 2008.
- Economic Issues with Natural and Organic Beef, Kansas State University, 2002 - Provides an overview of both natural and organic beef and why some consumers may prefer one of those over conventionally raised beef.
- Fourth National Organic Farmers' Survey: Sustaining Organic Farms in a Changing Organic Marketplace (Executive Summary), Organic Farming Research Foundation, 2004.
- Fourth National Organic Farmers' Survey: Sustaining Organic Farms in a Changing Organic Marketplace (Full Report), Organic Farming Research Foundation, 2004 - OFRF's National Organic Farmers' Surveys have collected data about organic farmers and farming for the years 1993, 1995, 1997 and 2001.
- Marginal Value of Quality Attributes for Natural and Organic Beef, Kansas State University, 2002 - Consumers are increasingly demanding natural beef products. Producers have attempted to meet this demand through organized alliances. This paper looks at the value of that investment.
- Market Trends, Organic Trade Association.
- Organic Agriculture, Economic Research Service (ERS), USDA - This site provides a wealth of statistics related to organic products.
- Organic Agriculture, Iowa State University - Information from production to marketing, including resources for certification compliance.
- Organic Livestock Requirements, National Organic Program (NOP), AMS, USDA, February 2013 - This fact sheet clarifies requirements for livestock to be certified organic. This fact sheet especially focuses on the ruminant pasture standards.
- Organic Production, ERS, USDA.
- American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP) - This association represents more than 1,800 small- and medium-sized meat, poultry and food businesses.
- Labeling Guidance, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA - This site includes procedures, policies, a listing of ingredients, packaging materials and other related links.
- North American Meat Processors Association (NAMP) - This nonprofit trade association provides information and technical services to the meat-processing industry.
- Packing House Byproducts, Iowa State University, 2003 - Large packing plants have found markets for the "last squeal" of the pig. How can smaller operations compete without the quantity of animals? This paper looks at small and medium-size beef and pork slaughterhouses and the alternatives for the major by-product categories.
- U.S. Beef Packing Industry Profile, Iowa State University, 2003 - The beef sector of the U.S. agricultural economy is dominated by four major packers who control more than 83 percent of the federal slaughtering. A niche exists for smaller single plants that compete in market segments not occupied by major packers.
- Accredited Certifying Agents, NOP, Ag Marketing Service (AMS), USDA - A total of 56 certifying agents are now accredited in the United States.
- Adding Value to Beef Production, Iowa State University Extension Value-Added Agriculture - This Web site gives readers an overview of various beef production alternatives.
- Cattle Production: Considerations for Pasture-Based Beef and Dairy Producers, Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA), National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), 2006 - At this site, producers are walked through a sustainable beef operation.
- An Introduction to Organic Beef Production, Saskatchewan Agriculture & Food, Canada.
- National Organic Program, AMS, USDA - This site lists the national standards on organic agricultural production and handling, certification procedures and accreditation.
- Natural and Organic Beef, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.
- Organic Agriculture: 2007, 2007 Census of Agriculture, NASS, USDA, 2009.
- Organic Beef and Dairy Production: an introductory guide, Soil Association, United Kingdom, 2007 - Provides a perspective on organic beef production in another country.
- Organic Livestock Feed Suppliers, ATTRA, NCAT - This resource list helps organic livestock producers locate sources of organic formulated feed rations or feed ingredients.
- Organic Livestock: What You Need To Know, ATTRA, NCAT - This PowerPoint presentation summarizes organic livestock production requirements and cites relevant sections of the National Organic Program Standards.
- Organic, Natural and Grass-fed Beef: Profitability and Constraints to Production in the Midwestern U.S., Iowa State University, 2006 - This paper defines organic, natural and grass-fed beef as well as looks at the markets for each.
- Sample Costs for an Organic Cow-Calf Operation, University of California Cooperative Extension, 2005 - This study can be used to make production decisions, determine potential returns, prepare budgets and evaluate production loans.
- Transitioning to Organic Beef Production, Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service, updated 2008.
- Dakota Beef, Howard, South Dakota - This natural and organic beef operation stresses vertical coordination.
- Half Circle Ranch, Belgrade, Montana - This ranch is certified organic by the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA). Cattle are raised naturally--no growth stimulants, biological shots or other potentially harmful shots are administered. If a medical shot becomes necessary at any time during an animal's life, Half Circle Ranch will sell this animal at a local auction as commercial livestock and thereby remove it from the ranch.
- Larsons Greenfarms, Brodhead, Wisconsin - This operation raises the majority of its own organic feedstuffs but also purchases organic feedstuffs from area producers.
- Mesquite Organic Foods, Aurora, Colorado - This company provides certified, grass-fed organic beef.
- Organic Valley Family of Farms, LaFarge, Wisconsin - This group of farms claims to be the largest organic farmer-owned cooperative in the United States with 750 farm families in 25 states. It markets beef and other meats under its Valley's™ Organic Meats brand.
- Prather Ranch, Macdoel, California - This ranch has been certified organic by Quality Assurance International. Cattle are raised without added hormones, antibiotics or animal-sourced proteins. The beef is processed in a private, USDA-inspected facility on the ranch.
Links checked February 2013.